I think I’ve established here, I’m a bit of a new age-y personal development type (in amongst the love of horror movies and heartless disdain for anything romantic).
As part of my routine, I keep a gratitude journal beside my bed and at the end of each day, I write down five things I’m grateful for. Sometimes the five things are puerile and short (coffee seems to feature often), other days they are fundamental and deep (being safe and empowered to make my own decisions in life).
I stumbled across a “30 days of gratitude” infographic and I’m using these suggestions as a prompt for new things to remember to be grateful for.
I checked Day 8. – what book are you most grateful for?
Here’s five books I’m grateful for and why.
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
I’ve blogged before about my love for Anne of Green Gables and when I picked up the book again last year for a re-read. The adventures of Anne (with an ‘e’, of course) Shirley on Prince Edward Island are still as enchanting as I remember as a child. Her overly romantic views, her obsession with puffy sleeves and her melodramatic moods juxtaposed with the stern and practical Marilla. As a writer, I love how the character of Anne leaps off the page in full colour. My re-reading of AoGG inspired me to write The Antics of Evangeline series, particularly noting the way the story is told in a serial style. This reminds me I need to revisit Anne of Avonlea too and I must book my pilgrimage to Prince Edward Island soon. I am grateful for the pleasure the book has given me and the inspiration to try to write like Lucy Maude Montgomery.
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
I’ve made many references to this book here on my blog. What I find most interesting about this book is when I initially bought it and read it, the War of Art did nothing for me. I had heard lots of glowing recommendations but the book left me cold and so I put it aside. It appears I was not ready for it. Yet.
Then one day, I picked it up again and the sun started shining down on me and I began to appreciate the wisdom of Steven Pressfield.
I’m grateful for the War of Art pointing out Resistance to me and the detrimental effect he has on all of us. Now, I can spot Resistance at a million paces (most of the time, sometimes I forget). He’s that bastard voice in your head telling you “you suck”. He doesn’t want you to change or risk anything. He likes you on the couch, mindlessly eating chips and watching re-runs, because you are safe. You are safe but you don’t change, you don’t grow, you don’t try and you never know what you are really capable of. Now, I slam the door in Resistance’s face and keep going. The War of Art sits on my bedside table for those times when my defences are low and I need reminding of Resistance and his insidious ways
Anti-Fragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Anti-Fragile is a crazy inspirational book which made me sit up and re-evaluate my entire life. The book is generally about how we do not have a concept of organisms which improve through stress. It’s not about robustness, it’s about things which actually use stress as a positive. I’m particularly grateful for the lesson on “having skin in the game”. While the prose style does not suit everyone, I lapped Anti-Fragile up and it blew apart my tiny little mind. This book made me realise that I was coasting through life and never really tested myself. I was also fragile and vulnerable, especially in a post GFC world when jobs in the financial services world were disappearing. This made me wonder if I was truly living. This lead me to focus more on writing and have a real go at a life-long dream. I also love the concept of anything which grows stronger through stress. I hope I am becoming more “anti-fragile” every day as I move through every challenge.
The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne
The Story Grid has become my go-to guide for editing and story-planning. The step by step guide has helped me self-edit my book and become a better story-teller. I’m grateful for the tools and Shawn Coyne sharing his experience as a big 5 editor.
This book boggles my mind. As a person who likes words and the challenge of finding exactly the right word, I have a thesaurus by my side constantly, especially during the editing process. Although these days, it’s more often a constantly open tab on my browser. As an intellectual exercise, it hurts my brain to think of someone sitting down to compile and categorise all the slightly different variants of each word. I don’t even know where I would begin. But I am extremely grateful to Mr Roget and his original thesaurus, for his assistance and linguistic expertise.
Villette by Charlotte Brontë. I happened to read it at exactly the right timing in my life and it helped me grow. Also, Lucy Snowe is the one character whose personality is the closest to mine.